Scot MacDonald, Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter
Maitland Mercury & Cessnock Advertiser
The State MP for Cessnock has raised two important issues in his last column and failed to present the full picture on both of them.
In 2011, Labor left the NSW Workers Compensation scheme nearly $4Billion in deficit. It was one of the worst run Schemes in the country and injured workers were in danger of not being compensated or the taxpayer was likely to have to bail out the unfunded liability.
The ALP MPs, including Mr Barr, voted against the Liberal National Government's legislation to reform the Scheme. The legislation was passed and the Scheme has returned to surplus. Since the reforms, the Government has amended injury criteria to strike the right balance between Scheme sustainability and injury compensation. Simply put, history shows us weak financial management by Labor harms both workers and the general public.
I led for the Government in the NSW Legislative Council to steer the passage of the Boxing Day trading legislation. Mr Barr MP failed to emphasise trading and working on Boxing Day is voluntary. There is a maximum $11,000 fine for coercing staff to work on this day and a maximum $22,000 fine for a landlord forcing a shop to open on this day.
I thought this opportunity was particularly important for the Hunter which mostly missed out on trading and saw business leave the area. Whether through shopping in the patchwork of approved areas outside of the Hunter or online. Labor's resistance to trading on Boxing Day is a good reminder of the difference between Liberals and the ALP.
Liberals back opportunity and incentives. It wants to help those who want to have a go. As Mr Barr reminded us, Labor is the Party that seeks to impose its personal preferences on others and is unsupportive of those trying to build a better life.